One of my favorite things about summer is camping with my family.  As we all know, Jeanne Ryan has her five reasons why she hates camping.  I am here to defend camping and proclaim my love for the great outdoors with my top 5 reasons why I love camping.

1.  Food.  We all need it, and one of my favorite parts of camping is eating. The lists are made, the bags are packed.  Coming up with  new recipes to try over the campfire, or re-working a classic that involves an open flame is awesome!  Have you ever had campfire pizza?  Yup.   It's every bit of delicious as it sounds.  Everything tastes better when you're camping. Have you ever made a S'more in the microwave or over the stove?  Doesn't even COMPARE to one around the campfire.  Get a little dirt on your weiner?  Just wipe it off and throw it on the fire again.

2.  Exactly.  Jeanne is scared of #2 when it comes to camping, but I think it's a great experience!  You haven't truly lived until you've done it out in nature.  Like they used to before indoor plumbing.  Plus, if Jeanne did the research, she'd know that many campgrounds offer indoor plumbing. Showers even!  If you've never been camping and need a good way to ease into it, many Minnesota State Parks offer "camper cabins" so you can get the camping experience without a tent.

3.  Making lasting memories with your loved ones happens all the time, but kids will always remember camping.  I know I remember some of our camping trips I took as a kid more than other outings.  And it's a good way to tear them away from the phones, the TV or the video games.  For me, when we're at home getting them out of the house and making them find ways to entertain themselves can be a struggle.  Camping is a great way to get kids to stretch their imagination and get some exercise!  And all the fresh air tuckers them out faster.

4.  Family time.  Nothing forces your kids to talk to you like a circle of chairs around a fire.  Don't get me wrong, we've had some great conversations with our kids at home.  But it always seems like the best ones are around dusk by the fire.  Something about it makes all of our stories they love to hear even funnier.  Sure, you may have some weather to deal with, but those trips always make the best stories to tell at the next campfire.  Like last Memorial Weekend when we sat under the tarp with the fire going, watching the hail as it bounced off our tents.  Ha...ha...ha...

5.  Although it's hard to rip yourself away from technology, it's good to take a break.  Turning off the cell phones, avoiding Facebook, stowing the video games and stepping away from the TV to truly appreciate Mother Nature in all her glory is the best "recharging" you can do for your mind and body.

Camping.  Do you love it or hate it and why?